Mush­room farm de­layed but homes get go-ahead

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page -

THE de­ci­sion on whether to al­low a large mush­room fac­tory to be built in Scaris­brick has been pushed fur­ther back.

West Lan­cashire Bor­ough Coun­cil was to de­cide the fate of the con­tro­ver­sial plans which have re­ceived hun­dreds of ob­jec­tions from lo­cal res­i­dents.

A week af­ter tech­ni­cal prob­lems blighted the com­mit­tee’s first at­tempt to meet via phone and video link, it re­con­vened on Thurs­day evening last week to make a de­ci­sion.

Res­i­dents ob­ject­ing to the ap­pli­ca­tion spoke of con­cerns over the size of the new build­ing and the im­pact its struc­ture would have on the Green Belt and its Grade 1 agri­cul­tural land, which is said to be among the best qual­ity in the coun­try.

Is­sues re­lat­ing to traf­fic and the in­crease in lor­ries were also raised and it looked at one stage as though the plans could be re­jected, with Cllr An­drew Pritchard, backed by Cllr David West­ley, mov­ing a res­o­lu­tion to re­ject the ap­pli­ca­tion.

But the com­mit­tee in­stead backed an al­ter­na­tive mo­tion from Cllr

Ed­ward Pope to de­fer a de­ci­sion and al­low plan­ning of­fi­cers to carry out more dis­cus­sions with the ap­pli­cant on is­sues raised at the meet­ing.

If ap­proved, the fac­tory, which will be classed as agri­cul­tural de­vel­op­ment rather than in­dus­trial, will al­low Smithy Mush­rooms to con­tinue its growth as one of the UK’s lead­ing sup­pli­ers of ex­otic mush­rooms and spare it from be­ing squeezed out of the mar­ket.

Ac­cord­ing to its ap­pli­ca­tion, SML started as a small fam­ily business more than 25 years ago and has grown to be­come a lead­ing UK sup­plier of ex­otic mush­rooms, in­clud­ing oyster, shi­itake and coral.

It has since re­ceived in­vest­ment from Korean car gi­ant Hyundai and sup­plies large re­tail­ers such as Marks & Spencer, Booths, and Tesco as well as ma­jor food ser­vice whole­salers and food pro­ces­sors and readymeal mak­ers.

As a re­sult of the de­fer­ral, fur­ther dis­cus­sions will take place be­tween the coun­cil and the com­pany be­fore the ap­pli­ca­tion is put back be­fore the com­mit­tee at a fu­ture meet­ing.

At the same three hour meet­ing, coun­cil­lors voted to ap­prove an ap­pli­ca­tion to build hun­dreds of houses on the Yew Tree Farm de­vel­op­ment site in Burscough.

The ap­pli­ca­tion was ap­proved de­spite con­cerns over flood man­age­ment and a to­tal of 267 homes can now be built in the lat­est phase of the plan.

The de­vel­op­ment, from An­wyl Homes, in­cludes a mix of one, two, three and four-bed­roomed, ter­raced, semi-de­tached, and de­tached houses, flats, and bun­ga­lows.

All homes will in­cor­po­rate pri­vate gar­dens with the ex­cep­tion of a shared gar­den for the planned six flats and 94 of the homes (35%) will be classed as “af­ford­able”.

The de­ci­sion on the ex­pan­sion of Smithy Mush­rooms, in Smithy Lane, Scaris­brick, has been post­poned, but the hous­ing es­tate at Yew Tree Farm, above, has been ap­proved

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